Sunday, February 10, 2008

Destination: France - Final Chapter

I have to say my time in France was amazing. Ted Mathot and I had a fantastic experience, very transformative, makes me seriously consider making BD full time. We made great friends ate great food and bought a lot of great comics (maybe too many).

Here's some highlights.

This is Richard and Emmanuel (aka Akileos) our gracious publishers, not to mention our gracious hosts for the trip. They were a pleasure to work with and I hope to make many more books with them.

Our first signing was at Album Bercy in Paris, where we met Charles (not pictured) who was our friendliest and biggest fan of the trip.

That night we attended the opening of Dean Yeagle's art show at Gallery Arludik. This is a wonderful gallery, the owners Jean-Jaques and Diane Launier have put on many shows featuring many legendary artists (including Moebius and Miyazaki!)

This is dinner after the show. That's Dean and Barbara Yeagle seated at the far end there, Diane and Jean-Jaques seated across from each other at middle table position, foremost on the left is Charly (designer of the Raving Rabbids in the Rayman games), and me on the right.

This is Christopher and Brigitte, We met them in Tours. Brigitte is the owner of Bédélire books, the awesome shop where we had our second signing. I have to admit I didn't know what to make of Christopher when we first met him. He and Brigitte greeted us at the train station, Christopher translated for us, then showed us around Tours. He was quite the "tour(s)" guide with an extremely impressive knowledge of the history of this very old city. So I think to myself, who the heck is this guy? Over the course of the day I slowly discover he's a very talented and amazingly prolific comic book artist who lives quite an enviable lifestyle of making comics there in Tours.
He also likes cheese.

This is Bédélire in all its glory.

Here are Ted and I signing at Bédélire.

I was signing a book for the fine gentleman pictured above when I discovered that he is none other than Jean Barbaud! Who draws the best cartoon airplanes you will ever see!! And inspired my own airplane drawing (although mine are far lesser). Not only that, but he worked on Inspector Gadget! My brain imploded.

While in Tour we got to meet many great artists (as there is a very large number of comic books artists who live there). Philippe Larbrier (pictured right) was one of 'em. He's one of only three people licensed to draw Disney comics in France.

Then, to Angoulême! The festival inhabited the entire town, every where you looked were comics. And not just the Festival tents, in the town and on the streets as well, even make-up stores sold comic books, it was crazy!

To me European comics though I love them are considered pretty obscure here in the US, so it was pretty shocking for me to see this stuff in the commercial mainstream. For instance Hugo Pratt art was everywhere! On busses. On Wine. On watches. On perfume?!

This is where Ted, Dean and I signed at the Akileos table. The etiquette in France when you sign is to do a complete drawing (or "dédicace"), which is very uncommon here in the US conventions where most would charge for such a thing. Ted, dean and I were very grateful for getting to draw many dédicaces.

I was very fortunate to meet many of my favorite French artists including Vatine, Herval and Arthur De Pins (pictured above)
Here's a signing Arthur had at a lingerie store. How cool is that?

Ted and I with Bannister, another awesome French artist known in the states from his "Flight" work.

Ted and I with Jean Moebius Giraud! I don't even care if my mouth is open in this picture, it's Moebius! Many many thanks to Nick Parry-Jones for introducing us.

After all that excitement it was back to Paris for one last signing at Album Comics on Saint-Germain. The one that sells the import American stuff.

Then finally back home with all the goodies I got.

I would like to thank everyone who promoted and made this trip possible for us, and to everyone who came by to see our books. No one could have been friendlier. Thank you.


mnmears said...

Awesome post ... well worth waiting for.
Selling comic books in a lingerie store ... that's insanely great.

Lovelace said...

Holy foie gras! What an amazing tour. So much amazing art & artists. All very inspiring. Thanks, Bill.

christopher said...

This is France !
Pretty Girls,
Nice food,
Great wine,
Whenever you come back !

rico said...

Looks like it was an amazing trip! Did they treat you like a king there or what?! You seem to have scored some great books too! I just saw that an Arthur De Pins book is being published here soon, I'm such a huge fan, is it the same as the book you picked up I wonder?

bannister said...

That was a pleasure !
Just like Christopher said, whenever you come back !

Brian Growe said...

Wow, that looks like a wonderful trip! Awesome!

craftyskwrl said...

If I've got the right person, I still have some white cards with foxes on them from about 15 years ago and you have always been an amazing artist.

Keep up the fantastic work!

Gary Ham said...

I had lunch with Dean the weekend he got back and enjoyed his stories of his experience. It's great to see the photos of all the places he described and even more shocking to see how comic art is so appreciated and public in Europe. Congrats on the succesful trip. I know you'll be going back many times.

GeeBee said...

Thanks for the pics', Bill !
It was great to meet you and Ted in Tours :)
Sorry for your brain damage, but I must confess I didn't designed Inspector Gadget, but only did the model-sheets on most of the episodes.

You picked up a lot of good books: have fun while "reading" them !


bpresing said...

I did not know there was a US De Pins book coming out. Do you have a link?

Christopher and Bannister,
Believe me, I'm very much looking forward to coming back. I'll let you know when I do.

Fox cards? Hmm. That sounds vaguely like something that I would have done in high school. You went to Butler High perchance?

Sorry for the mix up, as you were leaving Bédélire, somebody told me you designed Inspector Gadget. It was probably a misunderstanding in the translation. Still, model sheets on most episodes satisfies my inner childhood geek.
I'll correct the post.


stephanie said...

You've got it, Bill. All that skill and a solid memory to boot! Stephanie here. You've certainly come a long way from the Bulldogs. Where may I pick up your books somewhere around here?

Hey Bullblog said...

Hi bill.
Your blog and drawings are incredible.I have a edition of Belle du Jour and is amazing!Really amazing.The girls are cute and so charming.
I add your blog in my links.
Keep posting your great work.

StudioRisingStar said...

Man that was a deep post Bill!
Thanks for sharing your adventure in france!


Illustrator's Lounge said...


Steph said...

Arrrrrrrgh, jealous jealous JEALOUS! All this AND you met Arthur De Pins!! I wanna hear about it first-hand, you and Ikumi should stop in for dinner and hot tub one night :)

Mara said...

hey there, Bill! We met in Angoulême, I am an author at Akileos too, and just wanted to say that I really enjoyed Rex Steele a bunch! I would love to have had a "dedicace" but I didn't stay long enough...
Other than that, your book is awesome, the sketches at the end are truly inspiring and I just love the humor in the story! Penny is a great character, she is my favourite, and I just couldn't stop laughing at the scene where she disguises herself as an Amazon!
I hope we'll get to meet again during another one of these great comic festivals!

Mara said...

hey there, Bill! We met in Angoulême, I am an author at Akileos too, and just wanted to say that I really enjoyed Rex Steele a bunch! I would love to have had a "dedicace" but I didn't stay long enough...
Other than that, your book is awesome, the sketches at the end are truly inspiring and I just love the humor in the story! Penny is a great character, she is my favourite, and I just couldn't stop laughing at the scene where she disguises herself as an Amazon!
I hope we'll get to meet again during another one of these great comic festivals!

Tom said...

Hey! I just discivered your blog, and am reading through your posts.
And Tours is my Hometown! :D I met Christopher and Arthur de Pins there for a dedicace, they are both nice.
I really like your drawings, nice style.
from 70s blog http://lostintheseventies.blogspot/com

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